Baskonia outguns Real on the road
TD Systems Baskonia ended a four-game losing streak on the road by beating Real Madrid 64-84 at the WiZink Center on Friday night. The visitors took charge from the very beginning, building a double-digit margin, 15-28, at the end of the first period, and never looked back. Real managed to tie the game early after halftime, but a flurry of three-pointers in which Alec Peters, Luca Vildoza and Achille Polonara combined for six in a row allowed Baskonia to escape in the last quarter and improve its record to 11-13. Polonara led all Baskonia scorers with 18 points, followed by Peters, Rokas Giedraitis and Vildoza, who scored 16, 14 and 13 respectively, while Pierriá Henry dished out 10 assists. Real Madrid, whose record dropped to 15-9, had only one player scoring in double digits, as Alberto Abalde poured in 12.
The visitors had a strong start led by Tonye Jekiri, who dominated inside to score half of all Baskonia’s points in a 6-14 opening run. Even though Real called for an urgent timeout and found a timely three-pointer from Abalde, the visitors kept rolling thanks to Tadas Sedekerskis’ physical advantage at the low post and Peters’ shooting. Polonara made it 9-23 with a trey right before Sergio Llull took over with 4 consecutive points to keep Real breathing. Giedraitis replied with a three and Henry beat the buzzer with a highlight bucket to make it 15-28 at the end of the first period. The Whites found some relief once Walter Tavares took the court, as Abalde and Trey Thompkins found open shots to reduce the gap to 23-30. Giedraitis showed up from deep to abort the rally, sparking a 0-7 run that restored a double-digit lead, 23-37, midway through the second quarter. The hosts didn’t panic and reacted through a familiar recipe: strong defense and accurate long distance shooting. As such, the visitors remained scoreless from then on as Fabien Causeur, Rudy Fernandez and Carlos Alocen buried triples and Tavares added a layup to bring Real within 34-37 at halftime.
Gabriel Deck opened fire right after the break and Llull hit from deep to tie it, 39-39, but Baskonia replied immediately with a pull-up jumper by Henry, a three-pointer by Polonara and a layup by Vildoza to get back in charge, 39-46. Even though Real increased intensity on defense and Fernandez and Tavares trimmed the deficit to 46-48, the visitors stayed calmed and re-built a 48-55 margin on Polonara’s third three of the night. Another bomb by Vildoza and a buzzer-beating layup by Henry allowed Baskonia to enter the last period leading 52-60. Peters made it a double-digit edge with a dunk, turning on the red lights for the home team. Abalde and Alocen came to the rescue and made it 57-62, but that was the closest Real could get. Vildoza and Peters came up big and nailed three-pointers to help Baskonia escape 59-74 with 4 minutes remaining, and although Abalde replied from the same place, back-to-back triples by Peters and Polonara stabbed the home team and set a definitive 20-point margin to seal the win.
Game changing moment
Even though Baskonia led for almost the entire game, Real looked ready to rally at any moment. But soon after Carlos Alocen brought his team within 57-62 with 7 minutes remaining, the visitors strung together six three-pointers in a row – three of them coming from Alec Peters – to break the game for good.
Baskonia shot extremely well not only from long range, but from all positions. It recorded 62.9% in two-pointers (22/35) and 59.1% (13/22) from deep, which made the difference against a poor field goal percentage of its opponent (25/64, 39%).
Real got stuck in offense again, against the same opponent
The visitors held Real to just 64 points, its second-worst scoring mark of the season. The only time the home team scored less than that was in Round 1, when it lost 76-63 against… guess who? TD Systems Baskonia.
A road win, finally!
Baskonia snapped a four-game losing streak on the road, as its last away win took place more than a month ago, in Milan. That time, on December 23, Baskonia downed AX Armani Exchange 79-84 thanks to a three-point play by Pierria Henry in crunch time.
Both teams will return to action in two weeks. Real Madrid will live another Spanish battle when it visits Valencia Basket on Friday, February 19. TD Systems Baskonia will play also on the road, but further, as it travels to Russia to face Khimki Moscow Region the day before.
Friday, February 5, 2021